In case you’ve been blissfully isolated from all news* for the past few weeks, you know that the previous pope stepped down and that there is a new pope—Pope Francis.
The way that I titled this post is a nod to the title of the first Star Wars film. Tragically, I could not work a reasonable way to title it: “Star Wars: A New Pope,” so you’ll have to be satisfied with the second part alone.
Formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis is being very vocally hailed as a “fresh face” and “new hope” for the Roman Catholic Church.
At the risk of sounding immensely ageist, I have to say that, despite knowing some awesome old people, I have never really thought of celibate clergymen in their late seventies as “fresh faces” or sources of much of anything new.
Pope Francis made a bit of news for paying his own hotel bill and declining to sit on a throne while the cardinals lined up and declared their allegiance to him. Aside from an appearance of humility (though, really, how humble can one be while religious leaders from all around the world kneel and confirm that they answer you) and kind of setting aside the biggest perks of being the pope, Pope Francis’ atypical behavior has distracted from more important information about him.
Namely, his battle against marriage equality and same-sex adoption.
I do not care how many feet he washes (though that is super gross—I don’t even like touching my own feet, and they are quite clean), his opposition to fundamental rights of a portion of society is not acceptable. This is not okay, and it should not be overlooked.
The new pope was always going to be opposed to marriage equality and to female reproductive rights. That a pope was selected who was already known for having fought tooth and nail against his own country’s legal recognition of same-sex marriage and against their efforts to provide free contraception . . . well, that says something about the priorities of the conclave.
More worrisome is some of the language that Pope Francis, as a Cardinal, used to voice his opposition. In addition to the usual arguments about same-sex marriage “opposing God’s plan for humanity” and generally harming society (somehow) and how children need a mother and a father (for whatever reason), he also stated that Satan himself was the true source behind Argentina’s marriage equality campaign and perhaps all same-sex marriage.
Seriously. Read some interviews. Read his Wikipedia page (which is a bit more flattering than it was a couple of weeks ago). He does not seem to be a pope about whom we should become excited.
*By which I also mean social media, as even online news sources tend to be a little slow to report some stories—I mean, I learn about earthquakes in LA because Nickelodeon stars tweet about it, not because CNN tweets the same information two entire minutes later.